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Of Paper Tigers and false bravery

Dedicated to my fellow (disgruntled) DC writers in recognition of their literary efforts.

A phrase used by our own temporal in response to one of my comments stuck in my mind - paper tigers. This was with reference to all those 'critics' who jump on a blog author's throat no matter what the blog is about and generally do a 'Mexican three bean dance' (another one of t's gems!) over the tiniest issue. No matter if the issue in question is a random innocent remark - it would still get jumped on by these paper tigers like vultures on carcass.

That set me thinking. Why? Why would you rip the throat of a nameless, faceless stranger who's just sharing some blog space with you over anything? Why such intense, strong reactions, such caustic attacks? Would you behave the same way face to face?

The answer, simply, is no.

Face to face, you are forced to put on a mantle of civil respectability and manners, and behave like a civilised human being - not like a gorilla on Speed. But from the safety of your own home, hiding behind the anonymity of the computer, one sort of breaks free of the shackles of society-imposed propriety and lets loose the inner animal.

The first time I came under a direct attack, (well, as direct as one can get in cyber space!) I was taken aback! Such vehemence, such venom - not what you expect in response to an opinion you have expressed, surely! But after the first couple (of hundred) of insults and random attacks, I got used to it - in fact, have even come to expect it! It's a sad, sad situation and its getting more n more absurd.

How do you identify a paper tiger?

By its growl. No, this is not a PJ but pure fact. These paper tigers cannot but help growling - they do so freely, without any qualm, at every single thing that might or might not come their way. They also are a lot more vehement than the average Joe. Rather free too, with curses and swear words.

They come in all shapes and forms - some of them are part-time doctors ("DesiGirl, better take your Ritalin"), while others are a bit confused on the gender issue ("NYMOM uncle or auntie"; "Desigirl uncle or auntie"). Some of them are blessed with Sight ("watch out! Once 498a becomes a reality, then pop goes the weasel"). But all of them share one common trait - complete and utter inability to follow the plot. Navigators they ain't, coz they are prone to go off on a tangent, far and away from where the post in leading.

So, what next?

Well, you can deal with this in couple of different ways - the most sensible of these would be to just ignore them and carry on as normal. Easier said than done, I know. When you have bashed your head against the wall, trying to turn out a post that means something to you, it cannot be exactly soothing to your soul to find that a few paper tigers have come and made mincemeat of it in your absense.

That's when you go with option 2: counter-attack. Nothing is more satisfying than this, I should say. I know it is not as sensible as turning the other cheek - but sometimes, this sane action can get interpreted as cowardice and cause much jubliation in the tigers' midst, which in turn makes them even more rampant. Going on the warpath might just dispel this feeling of euphoria amongst the tigers.

Option three is a version of option 1 - to try and see the funny side of it. Again, easier said than done, I know! But this makes sure your blood pressure doesn't shoot up or you end up chucking your PC in the bin. At times like this, friends come in handy - Saks and t came to my rescue recently by composing songs / poems and cracked me up, thereby forcing me to stop seeing red.

All in all, these tigers are part of our fauna - deal with them, we have to. Funny part of all this is that some of these tigers profess to help those in despair from killing themselves or doing something else equally extreme, in their regular guise - what they fail to see is that, in the meanwhile, in cyberspace, the land of the brave and home of the free, they are driving us poor souls to therapy!

Posted by DesiGirl 9:02 pm 6 comments Links to this post  

Let it not cost the Earth!

Today was a scorcher. The weather forecaster on last night's news predicted 28°C but I suspect it was more than that. I found out just now that elsewhere in Britan it soared up to 38.1°C(100.6°F), making it the hottest day EVER! To my mates in Chennai, it might seem like I am kicking a fuss over nothing or I am becoming a firengi, if I am moaning about a warm day like today.

The thing is, I am concerned - no, strike that, I am worried! I came to the UK five years back and that year, it hit 23°C one solitary day in July and that was the only day I dared to go outside without the company of my overcoat. But over the years, warm summer days are becoming more and more regular and over the course of the following week, it is supposed to become more and more hot. 38°C in Brentwood on Wednesday - 10°C hotter than today - my mind boggles!

Most of my angrezi friends here can't be happier. They love the sunny weather and most of them were lying about in their lawns today, getting all nice and brown. How come no one is worried that it is becoming hotter and hotter? In Chennai, where it used to hover around 38 during the agni nakshatram (loosely translated, fire star - the hottest part of the year), it regularly tops off at 45°C.

And it isn't looking likely to change for the better anymore. Cos global warming is here to stay. We are changing our planet's geographical makeup slowly but surely, not understanding that we are heading towards the point of no return, beyong which the changes would be irrevocable.

Almost every step we take forward in the form of technology, has a negative impact on our planet. Take something like flying, for example. India is devoloping on all fronts and we now have low-cost, budget airlines much like the rest of the world. Like one of my friends in India put it, it costs less to fly to London that to Delhi. All this equals great news, isn't it? Your mum can fly out to see you in Timbuktu couple of times a year now!

Wrong! Low-cost airlines, while equalling comfort, more starkly mean we are exponentially increasing our carbon footprint. With the world becoming smaller, our carbon footprint becomes bigger and bigger as the day goes by. Pretty soon, a torrid day and the price of mineral water going up yet again would be the least of our worries.

It is time we started making major lifestyle changes to make up for raping our planet of its delicate balance. First on that list would be to switch off the TV, computer and other assorted electical stuff around the home, just before we hit the sack at night. Leaving things on stand by is just as bad as having them on all day long.

Another way of helping things is to reduce the usage of cars and bikes. While it is not feasible to take the train from Washington to Bangalore, you can do something to negate the bad effects of air travel by carbon offsetting. What is that, you ask? According to, carbon offsets enable people and organisations to reduce their carbon footprint. Carbon Offsets allow carbon dioxide, one of the main green house gases, to be either taken out of the atmosphere or reduced in another part of the world.

This can be something simple like planting a tree to changing to a green energy supplier for your electricity. Whatever the method is, we have to start doing something straight away.

Or, we could carry on as before and not do anything. Planting one solitary tree isn't going to help much, is it? What is the worst that could happen, anyway? Well, nobody knows one could predict exactly how bad it could all end up being - but of one thing I am certain - it would be one heck of a show!

Posted by DesiGirl 8:30 pm 12 comments Links to this post  

It's Time to Stop Being the Victim

Less than twenty-four hours after the first blast and the mud-slinging has started. All the political bigwigs are at it again - pointing fingers at everyone else and trying to pin the blame on someone for yesterday's atrocious acts of violence and murder.

For that is what is was - cold-blooded, calculated mass murder of innocents who did nothing but take that particular train for their journey home. Home to their children, parents, pets - but never got there. Hundreds of lives were rudely cut off because some fanatics got it into their heads that they would kill, maim and murder some innocent people of Mumbai. Why? Just 'cos they could do it! In the name of God, religion, righteous beliefs - nah! This is about power and nothing else. Everything else is a front, a fa├žade to give their 'image' a boost.

Saddened though I am by yesterday's happenings, the chief emotion in my heart, that fills my very being now, is anger. Anger that this has been done to our people again! Lots of talks in the media about the blasts of 1993, more recently the IIS-B attacks - what is the point? What has been done since then to a. prevent such an event from occuring again b. form an effective emergency services in the form of police, ambulance and fire services?

One word - zilch!

All the news clips that have been shown till now have images of people lying broken and bleeding and police officers strutting about the place, talking to media. Nowhere did I see an EMT tending to the wounded or an ambulance speeding away. But there were lots of pictures of the general public lending not just a solitary helping hand but jumping headlong into rescuing trapped survivors. (Aside: Readers' Digest - is this the rudest city? May be they didn't hold doors but they came to their fellowmen's aid when it was needed. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!)

Will our so-called leaders ever learn? Will they stop looting the country and stuffing their pockets and actually do something good for the country? I was reading a book the other day, which was set in Mali, Africa. The country's economy is described to have been 'raped' by the powers that be, that the poor are languishing in the streets. Well, that may not be the scenario in India (not completely - yet!), our country's prospering at a rapid clip inspite of the buffoons that claim to run it. If a country can do so well inspite of our bevy of corrupt politicians and officials, how well can it do if we actually cleanse our systems of them?

This might be a load of baloney but something has to be done. We cannot be bombed in our homes, trains, roads at any time of day or night and carry on doing what we were doing before that, for ever. Like Sukhi's famous line from Rang De Basanti, 'even an ant reacts if you step on it, but we don't'.

True enough!

It is time we reacted. We have been targets, victims long enough.

It's time.

Posted by DesiGirl 8:23 pm 8 comments Links to this post  

My favourite World Cup moment

Well, that phenomenon called the World Cup is almost over - hard to believe it after months of anticipation and tension. After England were booted out of the competition, I have to admit that I could watch the matches without chewing my nails out.

Even though the glory of the Finals await us, I had my favourite moment of World Cup when France played Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo in tears made my day! After his antics on the ground, during their game against England have turned me firmly against him. If I saw red when he bounded out of nowhere to egg the umpire against Rooney, it was nothing short of apoplectic when he winked at his team mates after poor Rooney was shown the red card.

His comeuppance came against France when Portugal lost and he was booed every time he moved a muscle. Ah it was a joy to behold! He is reported to have said that the booing never bothered him - in fact, it egged him on to play better. According to him, people boo 'cos he is a dangerous playing and he is just that - a dangerous player.

Well I have news for you mate - they booed solely because you played dirty!

Meanwhile, some enterprising souls have taken it upon themselves to decorate his house in Manchester - the exterior of his house is papered with the St.George's flag! I can imagine the look on his face when he lands in Manchester and sees the new decor!

But what interests me greatly is, how he is going to fare at Man U. He seems to have burned his bridges here and his actions have turned every single English / Man U fan against him. These fans are not going to forgive and forget so easily. Being able to pooh-pooh the crowd's negative reaction when surrounded by your own countrymen in a neutral territory is one thing, playing for an English club, in England, with Englishmen is going to be a completely new ball game (pardon the pun!). The welcome party Man U fans are planning would make the booing and the rude calls seem like picnic.

Good luck Cristiano, ole chap - you are going to need it!

Posted by DesiGirl 6:36 pm 2 comments Links to this post